Corporations are the backbone of our economy, but corporations are not what makes a strong society. When corporations fund Political Parties, are they also by extension influencing the decisions governments make? And if so, are those decisions in the best interest of the society, or of the corporations that fund their campaigns?
Governments are supposed to, by definition, exercise political authority over the actions, and affairs of a political unit of people, and perform certain functions for this unit or body. If our government is concerned only about corporate donors, and neglects other groups in society, I believe they have lost touch with what it means to govern "for the people”.
In the 2020 election year, the Saskatchewan Party took in $2,003,453.05 from corporations (Elections Sask). In comparison, the next highest donation amount from corporations was to the NDP at $51,123.33. That’s roughly 40x more money to spend on getting your message out there.
If my Party had two million dollars to run campaigns, we would have sitting MLAs right now. However, the Sask Green Party holds fast to our policy that donations should not come from corporations, because corporations are not people. Corporate CEO’s are accountable to shareholders, and decisions made benefit corporate bottom lines, period. If corporations fund campaigns, what are they asking for in return?
Imagine if the playing field was level, and no political party was able to have such an advantage. To do this, let’s look at donations only from individuals during the same election year. The Saskatchewan Party brought in $1,885,389.38, and the NDP $1,154,900.64. Just this change alone, would have created a more equitable campaign environment.
If candidates and parties were on a level playing field during campaigns, discussions and public debates on policy and important issues would happen without the influence of paid propaganda and campaign ads. Parties who can afford the time and effort to get noticed, often get the lion’s share of media coverage and therefore, the public only hears one side, one viewpoint, one option. This does not make for a strong society, or positive growth.
A strong and healthy society is built by learning from diverse points of view, listening to the issues and concerns of others, and building laws and policies that are equitable, fix the issues, and are created in a collaborative, fiscally responsible, transparent process.
If the Saskatchewan Party is being funded by corporations, should we not at least ask: Are MLAs working to continue to receive corporate donations, or are they working in the best interest of the “political unit” - the people?
It’s time the people of Saskatchewan recognize this unbalanced system exists, that it’s not healthy, and that citizens have the power -- their vote -- to start to change it in the 2024 election.